Delaware (DE) Unemployment Benefits Guide

Calendar Icon Updated February 26, 2019
Unemployment

Introduction

The Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance (DDUI) administers the unemployment insurance benefits program for the state of Delaware.  It is designed to provide benefits to those who are unemployed through no fault of their own and who would be employable if suitable jobs were available to them. 

Employers pay a tax to fund the program.  No employees are ever taxed to provide benefits for unemployed workers.  The amount of benefit a person can receive is based on the amount of wages they have earned during a Base Period or an Alternate Base Period.  There are certain requirements that must be met to receive benefit payments. These individual and monetary requirements are established by statutes and regulations and are administered by the Division.

DDUI also to contributes to the development of a qualified workforce by collecting a statewide training tax from employers, providing funds for the training of dislocated workers, school-to-work transition, industrial training and other training initiatives.

How unemployment benefits work in Delaware

Here’s a quick overview of how the unemployment insurance process works in Delaware.

  1. Before you apply for benefits, you must meet all eligibility requirements.  Some of these requirements include that you lost your job through no fault of your own, that you earned enough wages during your base period to be monetarily eligible, and that you are ready, willing and able to work a full-time job.  
  2. Apply for unemployment insurance benefits.  In Delaware, you can either file an initial claim online or by phone.   To file by phone, call 302-761-6576 if you live in New Castle County or 800-794-3032 outside New Castle County.
  3. Determine the amount and duration of your benefit.   After your initial claim is processed, you will be sent a Monetary Determination. In Delaware, you can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks.  The mimimum weekly benefit amount a person can receive is $20 and the maximum is $330. 
  4. Choose how you will be paid. Delaware pays benefits either by direct deposit or by debit card.  When you initially sign up for benefits, you will be asked to choose either Direct Deposit or Debit Card to receive your payments.
  5. Conduct an ongoing job search.   You must conduct an ongoing job search and you must document your efforts and report them to collect benefits.  Delaware requires that you contact at least one potential employer per week and that you create a Jobseeker Account with the state’s Division of Employment and Training
  6. If you are denied benefits, you can file an appeal.  There are several possible levels of appeals you can pursue if you disagree with your initial appeal ruling.    

Eligibility requirements

To receive unemployment insurance benefits in Delaware, you must meet several eligibility requirements:

  • Accurately report your reason for separation from your job when you initially file your claim for benefits.
  • Report any gross wages you earn during a week that you are claiming benefits.  This includes part-time or temporary work.
  • You must be ready, available and willing to start work.
  • You must conduct an active and ongoing job search effort.
  • You must file a claim for benefits each week that you are out of work.
  • You must register with the Division of Employment and Training unless you qualify for a rare exemption.  You must create or update your Jobseeker Account, including building a resume in Delaware JobLink and keeping it up to date.  
  • You are required to report all changes of your address in writing signed by you (or in person with proof of identification) with your social security number and effective date of the move to the local office where you filed your claim.

It is the law that you must report any wages you earn while collecting benefits.  Cross match audits are conducted to compare wages reported by claimants vs. those reported by an employer.  The state also has access to employers’ new hire information. 

If you do not report your wages, you will be responsible for repaying any benefits you collected unlawfully plus 18% interest annually and a 15% penalty fee.  You will also be disqualified from receiving UI benefits for one year and may also be criminally prosecuted. 

In addition to wages, you must report all payments you receive from pensions, annuities or similar periodic payments.  This can also include bonuses, tips, severance pay, workers comp payments or disability payments,

Reasons why you might be denied benefits

  • If you are not available or unable to work
  • If you have not actively sought work
  • If you quit your job without good cause
  • If you were discharged from your job due to misconduct or for other just causes such as unexcused absences or violations of company rules
  • If you are in a training program that limits your availability to work
  • If you are in jail or prison
  • If you refused to accept a job offer that you are qualified for that pays the general rates for that type of work
  • If you are unemployed due to a labor dispute
  • If you do not participate in mandatory reemployment services
  • If you do not respond to inquiries from the Delaware Division of Unemployment Services
  • If you do not property file for your weekly UI benefits as required
  • If you are self-employed or become self-employed after you file a UI claim.

 When you return to work full-time, you benefits stop on the first day of work, even if you are not paid until a later date.  You are required to report that you have become reemployed on your weekly claim request and report any gross wages earned for the week. 

If you return to work part-time, or you file a claim for reduced hours, you must continue to look for full-time work.  You are still required to report all gross earnings and meet all other eligibility requirements.

If you return to work, but later become unemployed again, you must report to a local office to file an additional claim or reopen a claim online

Applying for benefits

Before you file

Before you file a claim for benefits, you will need to make sure you have several pieces of information available:

  • Your Social Security number
  • The names, addresses and phone numbers of all your employers over the last 18 months
  • The name and number of your local union hall, if applicable.
  • A current telephone number  
  • Your state issued driver’s license or a state motor vehicle agency issued identification card
  • Banking information if you choose to receive payments by direct deposit

Filing an initial claim

After you have gathered all of your information, you can file an initial claim online on in person.

You can file online only under certain circumstances:

  • If you are a Delaware worker who is unemployed or have reduced hours.  You cannot file online if you were employed in another state during the preceding 18 months
  • Are filing against a former military employer
  • Are filing against a former federal civilian employer
  • Are not a US citizen

If you do not meet these conditions, you will need to report to a nearby UI office to file your claim in person.  You can find those office locations here

After you file an online claim you will receive a confirmation number that is used to track your claim.  Print the confirmation number and save it since you may need to provide if you have any questions about your claim. 

Filing for weekly benefits

After you file an initial claim and you are approved to receive benefits, you will need to file a weekly request to claim benefits for each week you are unemployed.  This is also known as certifying for benefits. 

For purposes of filing for ongoing benefits, a week runs from Sunday through Saturday.  Most people file on the Sunday following  the completed week.  

You can file for ongoing benefits two ways:

Online using WebBenefits

By phone using TeleBenefits.  Call 302-761-6576 to file if you live in New Castle County or 800-794-3032 outside New Castle County.

TeleBenefits and WebBenefits cannot be used to file a new, additional, or reopened claim and are only to be used for requesting your weekly UI benefit payment.

The Information Hotline at 1(800) 794-3032 or (302) 761-6576 are available 7 days a week, 24 hours per day. 

WebBenefits and TeleBenefits claims requested by 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday will normally be processed the same day.  Benefits requested after 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday will normally be processed the next business day.

For both ways, you will be asked a series of questions which you must answer truthfully before being approved, including information on your work search efforts and if you earned any wages.  If you do not answer truthfully, you could be guilty of fraud, losing your benefits and facing possible penalties and criminal charges. 

How much will I receive?

After your initial claim is processed, you will be sent a Monetary Determination.  It will include the employers you worked for during your qualifying period and the wages you earned each calendar quarter.  If you are monetarily eligible for benefits, the monetary determination will also indicate your weekly benefit amount (WBA), maximum benefits receivable, and the duration of your claim.

If the employer or wage information is not correct or if any employer or wage information is missing, report this to the local office where you filed your claim immediately.

After the determination is issued, if you disagree with it, you can file an appeal with your local office. A notice of monetary determination that indicates you qualify for UI does not necessarily mean that you will be paid benefits.  Other eligibility issues could impact your ability to receive UI benefits.

 Calculating your benefit

To compute approximately how much you will receive, use the following formula:

  • Determine the base period for the claim you are filing.  It is generally the first four of the past five completed quarters before you filed your claim.
  • Determine the amount of wages you were paid during the base period by calendar quarters.
  • Determine the two quarters in which you were paid the highest wages.
  • Divide the wages paid to you in those two quarters by 46 to calculate approximately how much you will receive per week.  To be eligible for benefits, you must have been paid at least 36 times your weekly benefit amount by a covered employer in your base period.
  • The amount of your benefit will be 1/46 of your wages in the two highest wage quarters in the base period.

The mimimum weekly benefit amount a person can receive in benefits is $20 and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $330. 

The number of weeks you may receive benefits depends upon your total wages during your entire base period. A worker is entitled to receive a total amount of benefits equal to 50% of their base period wages or 26 times their weekly benefit amount, whichever is less.

You may receive the amount of benefits due you over the course of your Benefit Year. The benefit year begins on the Sunday of the first week in which you file a claim which is found to be monetarily eligible. It continues for a period of one year.  If you draw all of your benefits from Delaware, you cannot receive any more payments within that benefit year.

You are allowed to earn 50% of your weekly benefit amount without any deduction from your weekly benefit payment. Anything over 50% is deducted dollar for dollar.  

When and how will I be paid?

Delaware pays benefits either by direct deposit or by debit card.  When you initially sign up for benefits, you will be asked to choose either Direct Deposit or Debit Card to receive your payments. If neither is chosen, then you will be automatically placed on the Debit Card.

You will be required to choose the TeleBenefits or WebBenefits option for requesting your weekly benefit payments.

Enrollment in Direct Deposit and Debit Card requires the use of a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). This PIN is established by placing a call to the TeleBenefits line at (302) 761–6576 or 1-800-794-3032.

When you sign up for Direct Deposit, it is your responsibility to verify that your financial institution will accept Direct Deposit to your account. Some banks and credit unions will not accept Direct Deposit or they require that a special account number be used for Direct Deposit.

Direct Deposit is a fast and safe way to process your benefit payments . It eliminates delays by the postal service and the risk of paper checks being lost in the mail or sent to the wrong address. It also eliminates the need to make a trip to your financial institution and wait in line to cash or deposit your UI benefit check.

To sign up for Direct Deposit, when you file your claim you will need to provide your Social Security number, you bank routing information, your checking or savings account number, and your state issued driver’s license or a state motor vehicle agency issued identification card. Any changes to your account or bank information must be made online by completing and submitting a new “Authorization for Direct Deposit of Benefit Payments” form. Changes to account and/or bank information will not be accepted by mail or telephone. 

If you choose to receive benefits on a Debit Card, your first payment will be a mailed check. Within 5 -7 days you will receive your debit card and information on how to use the card.  

A Debit Card is easy and provides quick access to your payments without waiting in line to cash or deposit a check. It allows withdrawal of cash at ATMs 24 hours a day and you can make purchases anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.  It is reliable because you receive your payments in a timely manner.  You can also receive account alerts informing you of when a deposit is made.

Questions associated with the debit card must be directed to the debit card company. Please go here for the bank’s contact information.

Unemployment insurance benefits are taxable.  State taxes are not withheld from your UI benefit payments but you can have federal taxes withheld at a rate of 10%.  You will be furnished a statement, a Form 1099-G, reporting the benefits paid to you and taxes withheld. The Internal Revenue Service will be given the same information.

Looking for work while collecting benefits

One of the key eligibility requirements for collecting benefits is that you must maintain an active job search.  You will be required to make at least one new work search contact each week and indicate the employer’s name, address, type of work sought, result of the contact and the date when you request your weekly benefits.  You are required to complete the Work Search Log each week you are receiving UI benefits.

Part of your job search efforts also includes creating a Jobseeker Account with the state’s Division of Employment and Training (DET).  One of the main tasks you will be required to complete is to build a resume and keep it up-to-date. 

This includes building a resume in Delaware JobLink https://joblink.delaware.gov and keeping it up to date. You can do this in person or online.

If you are required to register with the Division of Employment and Training, you must do so within three business days of filing your claim and you must keep this registration active while collecting UI benefits.

Some of the different programs that DET administer are:

The Reemployment Services (RESEA) Program provides intensive career center services to UI claimants receiving UI benefits and to help claimants return to work faster. As part of the REA process, a validation of the claimant’s work search activities is also conducted. Claimants are provided with the use of available resources to look for work, and also verifies the information listed on their work search logs.

The Profiling Program addresses changes in technology and international trade that have caused changes in the U.S. economy and, consequently, changes in the labor market. Workers who held jobs in a plant that has closed, or who possess skills that are no longer in demand may find themselves permanently separated from their employers with no similar jobs available. The Profiling Program minimizes the effects of these trends in the workforce and help individuals obtain gainful employment.  By law, a random selection process will determines who will participate in the “Profiling Program.” If you are selected, participation is mandatory.

What if I am denied benefits?

If you are denied benefits or disagree with your monetary determination, you have the right to appeal that decision.

You can submit a request for a hearing in person or by writing to your local office. Requests for Appeals must be filed in person at the local office or be postmarked within ten days of the date of the Notice of Determination.   Most of the time, an appeal hearing is scheduled within a few weeks after the appeal is filed. 

All parties are mailed a Notice of Hearing that provides the time, date, location, and issues to be covered in the hearing. You may request permission to participate in the appeal hearing by telephone.

While your claim is under appeal, you should continue requesting your weekly benefits and do all things necessary to maintain your UI eligibility.  If it is determined that you are eligible for benefits, you will receive benefits only for the weeks for which you requested your weekly benefits timely and met all other eligibility requirements.

Although the hearing is not a trial, it is an administrative proceeding and somewhat formal. Its purpose is to find facts and resolve issues. Witnesses are sworn in, questioned and cross-examined by an appeals referee. Each side presents its version of the facts. The hearing is recorded and the recorded testimony is included with documents and other evidence as part of the formal record of your appeal.  After the hearing, the appeals referee decision will be mailed to the parties involved.

If you disagree with the findings, you and any party to the appeal hearing may appeal to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board (UAIB). The appeal must be filed to the UIAB within 10 days of the mailing date on the appeals referee’s decision.

The UIAB does not hold hearings on every appeal request. Most cases are resolved upon a review of the formal record of the appeals referee hearing, the appeals referee’s decision, and the pertinent law.

If you disagree with the UIAB’s decision, you can file an appeal to Superior Court. 

You can appeal an adverse decision by the Superior Court to Delaware’s Supreme Court.

For more information

If you have questions, you can visit the Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance website.

You can also visit any of the local offices located throughout the state

Or, you can call them

Wilmington Local Office: 302-761-8446

Newark Local Office: 302-368-6600

Dover Local Office: 302-739-5461

Georgetown Local Office: 302-856-5611

If you have any questions regarding filing an Interstate claim, please contact the Interstate office directly at (302)761-8428.

Eligibility Team

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